Kenya is one of the six HIV ‘high burden’ countries in Africa – about 1.6 million people were living with HIV infection at the end of 2013. Women in Kenya are more vulnerable to HIV infection compared to Kenyan men, with the national HIV prevalence at 7.6 per cent for women and 5.6 per cent for men (1) . The epidemic is geographically diverse, ranging from a high prevalence of 25.7 per cent in Homa Bay County in Nyanza region to a low of approximately 0.2 per cent in Wajir County in North Eastern region. The high burden of HIV and AIDS in Kenya accounts for an estimated 29 per cent of annual adult deaths, 20 per cent of maternal mortality, and 15 per cent of deaths of children under the age of five(2) .
The epidemic has also negatively affected the country’s economy by lowering per capita output by 4.1 per cent (3) . Kenya has an estimated 88,620 new HIV infections among adults and about 12,940 new infections among children annually. Stable and married couples are the most affected, as this group accounts for 44 per cent of the new adult infections (Figure 1) (4) . Men who have sex with men, prisoners, sex workers and their clients, and injecting drug users contribute a third of all new infections in Kenya. With growing evidence that they are key drivers of the national HIV epidemic – for instance, the alarmingly high HIV prevalence rates of 29.3 per cent (5) among sex workers, 18.2 per cent among men who have sex with men, and 18.3 per cent among injecting drug users – the government has initiated a program for these population groups.
1) Kenya HIV Estimates Report, 2014.
2) UNAIDS, Efficient and Sustainable HIV Responses: Case Studies on Country Progress, 2013.
3) National AIDS Control Council, Sustainable Financing of AIDS in Kenya, 2011.
4) National AIDS Control Council, Kenya HIV Prevention Response and Modes of Transmission Study, 2009.
5) Global AIDS Progress Report, Kenya, 2013.
Extracted from the "2014 Kenya HIV Country Profiles" report by the Kenya Ministry of Health and other sources.
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2014 Kenya HIV County Profiles.
"In today's world, gender equality and women's empowerment are no longer privileges. They are rights that every woman should enjoy. I call on all leaders to ensure reducing child mortality, improving maternal and child health and combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases are part of the post-2015 agenda."
Margaret Kenyatta, First Lady of Kenya
"AIDS is the leading cause of death globally among women of reproductive age. It is a women's issue. This event, under the leadership of Kenya's First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, brings hope to all of us. We will continue to support you and we will continue to learn from you."
Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director